European Wilderness Society

War and the National Nature Park “Holosiivskiy” in Kyiv

There is more and more information available about the war impact on nature. European Wilderness Society has a good opportunity to communicate to you direct information, we are receiving from our partners from Ukraine.

We are grateful to Serhii Khara from Holosiivskiy National Nature Park (NPP „Holosiivskiy“), who has shared first-hand information and experience with us. Below you will find content, prepared by Serhii.

In addition we are glad, that this post is released on the Birthday Day of one of post´s and Ukraine´s hero: Andriy Khrutba! Congratulations, Andriy!


NPP „Holosiivskiy“ is the only in Ukraine and one of several National Parks of the world located completely within the metropolis.

According to employees, to date, active hostilities have covered park area of ​more than 4,000 hectares. These are mainly pine forests located on the territory of the Svyatoshynskyy forestry and park unit on the territory of the NPP „Holosiivskiy“. Mostly, the consequences of the war have left a mark since the attacks of russian troops on Kyiv in 2022 and as a result of the defense of the capital.

About NPP «Holosiivskiy»

NPP Holosiivskiy is a Protected Area of the national level and is created for nature protection and the development of tourism and recreation. It has a total area of 10988.14 ha. The main goal of the National Park is to protect the ecosystems of Kyiv Polissya and Forest Steppe. More than 90% of the park is oak – hornbeam and pine forests. NPP «Holosiivskiy» consists of several separate parts of different sizes, which are located in Holosiivskiy, Svyatoshynskyy and Obolonskyy districts of Kyiv.

The war impact on the National Park

Unfortunately, due to limited access to all forest areas, it is quite difficult to establish the total amount of damage caused by hostilities and forest damage. As a result of the survey, some areas of the forest to which park employees have safe access, the facts of destruction and damage to forest plantations is assesed as 2,813,063 UAH or the equivalent of 70 326,575 Euro. The entire territory of the Svyatoshynske forestry and park unit needs measures of demining or detecting explosive objects. This is the territory that in spring of 2022 bacame a zone of active hostilities, and during 2022-2023 the debris of barrage ammunition, cruise missiles Х-101/555 and ballistic missiles Х-47 “Dagger” repeatedly fell here.

War impact on Protected Areas of Ukraine

To date, as a result of the russian armed aggression, according to the information of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, 812 objects of the NRF (Nature Reserve Fund) of Ukraine affected. This total area makes 0.9 million hectares, which is 21.9% of the total area of ​NRF in Ukraine. In particular, 514 NRF facilities with an area of ​0.8 million hectares remain occupied.

It is almost impossible for public authorities or public organizations to conduct environmental activities on these territories.

Environmental education is same important during the war

War also causes irreparable damage to the mental health of the population, which is almost impossible to measure. And, therefore, psychological recovery in Ukraine is as important and relevant as the restoration of infrastructure, housing or energy. Recently, we at the NPP «Holosiivskiy» are increasingly receiving requests for classes in the forest for children.

For the team of the environmental educational department of the NPP «Holosiivskiy», requests to hold educational events in the forest have become a real challenge, because currently visiting forests is strictly prohibited. At the same time, we wanted to use the potential of nature for the psychological recovery of people, because according to research, forest interventions improve mental health and help recovery.

Olha Lavryk, specialist on environmental education

Attitudes to trees and forests are mostly positive, and the forest itself is a place of imagination, a rod identity, and also endowed with strong spiritual and emotional influence.

Compromise in Park

As a result, we found a compromise and hold events in the park named after Maxim Rylskyy (Ukrainian poet and academician), which is also part of the NPP «Holosiivskiy». The park is a recreational area and therefore open for the public. Also, there was no military actions on the territory of this park, so it is relatively safe, as far as possible in modern realities.

So, this fall there were 4 educational events on the territory of this park for 150 displaced people from the Donetsk region. During them participants learned what species of trees grow in the NPP «Holosiivskiy» and how to recognize them by touch and appearance. Also children took part in the quest “Animals of the Holosiivskiy Forest,” where they learnt which animals live in the park and how their traces look like.

The events were held with the support of the Environmental Guard Information and Education Center, which implements the Environmental Trails of the Native Ukraine Program, commissioned by the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration. The Programme is meant to support and improve the mental health of children located/were located on the territories where hostilities take/took place.

Plast-Ukrainian scouting

Our department also launched eco-steps together with the organization “Plast – Ukrainian Scouting.” This is a series of activities in the forest during which scouts in an interesting interactive form learn about the flowers, trees and animals, that live in the Holosiivskiy forest.

Ukraine will exist for a long time in the realities of the post-war period and will assess the damage caused to environmental systems and public health. And, therefore, the health improvement and rehabilitation of children and adults affected by hostilities with the help of forest pedagogy methods based on NPP «Holosiivskiy» will be an important part of our work for a long time.

Support the conservationists of Ukraine

Many Ukrainian nature conservationists and rangers are now defending their homeland and are part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They all dream of returning to their families and their favourite conservation work as soon as possible. So, some employees of the NPP «Holosiivskiy», such as Andriy Khrutba, have been defending Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russia. You can help them to make their dreams come true by supporting true volunteers’ donation campaigns, for example: here. This Charitable foundation “Podorozh Zyttia” support Andriy´s military division and many others.

All photo proivided by the National Nature Park “Holosiivskiy”.

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